Lágrimas De Um Pássaro - Tears Of A Bird
Singer extraordinaire Heidi Vogel's long anticipated debut solo album, Lágrimas De Um Pássaro - Tears Of A Bird, was released on Fly Like A Bird Records in July. Ms. Vogel is perhaps best known as the lead singer with The Cinematic Orchestra, with whom she has toured and recorded extensively all over the world, and her many credits also include television appearances and performances and recordings with, among many others, Isaac Hayes. For a singer of her stature and most extraordinary ability, a solo album has been quite long in coming. But it has been more than worth the wait!
On Lágrimas De Um Pássaro - Tears Of A Bird (a bit of a play on words!) Heidi 'Levo' Vogel concentrates on the Brazilian music she so loves and some of her favourite composers such as Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and João Donato. In this context, it is pleasing to note that Ms. Vogel has steered clear of some of the more obvious, better known Jobim titles and instead has gone for some of the perhaps lesser known ones. Overall, the mood here is more reflective, sometimes sad and always soulful, reflecting the album's title.
For those perhaps not yet familiar with Ms. Vogel's exceptional voice - this song bird outsings a nightingale any day. I rarely like to indulge in comparisons, but Ms. Vogel's voice, with its huge four-plus octave range is the first it has been my enormous pleasure to hear since Dame Cleo Lane to match not only her range but quality - from the sometimes beautifully husky low range to the crystal-clear, sometimes ethereal top register (all too often ending up 'screechy' with lesser singers). Powerful yet effortless, soulful, highly expressive, Ms. Vogel's voice has something of a special quality about it and is as one in a million.
But not only that, she also is the perfect singer for Brazilian music, as well as a singer who can sing any kind of music, as Cleveland Watkiss rightly observed. Lágrimas De Um Pássaro - Tears Of A Bird turns out to be an outstanding album of Brazilian jazz.
Heidi Vogel's quality as a singer could find few greater endorsements than being able to attract the finest male jazz singer and improviser of modern times, Cleveland Watkiss, to guest for a couple of fine duets on this album.
The main accompaniment is provided by Josue Ferreira's superbly sensitive guitar. Some tracks also see further guest appearances by pianist Ivo Neame, bassist Gili Lopes, and cellist Ben Davis, all giving sterling performances that match the album's music and mood to perfection.
Two of the eleven tracks on Lágrimas De Um Pássaro - Tears Of A Bird are by non-Brazilian composers. Billy Strayhorn's Chelsea Bridge is given such a thoroughly Brazilian treatment with Ms. Vogel's exquisite scat-like vocals (here also displaying almost the full range of her extraordinary voice) you'd swear Strayhorn came from the Brazilian tradition. Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson displayed strong affinity with the style, so the inclusion of one of his masterpieces, Black Narcissus, should come as no surprise.
Favourite tracks? All eleven, of course! With an album as brilliantly consistent and consistently brilliant as Lágrimas De Um Pássaro - Tears Of A Bird it is simply impossible to pick one particular favourite. Every single track is easily more than worth the price of admission by itself. Lágrimas is the most exquisite, beautiful, sensational album of Brazilian music of this kind by a female vocalist in a very long time. Heidi Vogel is like a kind of female João Gilberto on steroids - simply sensational. This is an album you just have to hear!
Irrespective of whether you come at this from a jazz or world music angle, to say that Heidi Vogel's sensational, gorgeous Lágrimas De Um Pássaro - Tears Of A Bird is way beyond essential must surely seem like a huge understatement. A must have album that you just have to beg, steal or borrow but preferably buy! If there's only one album that you buy this year, Lágrimas has to be it.
© 2011 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.